As a result, SIBA has launched an Assured Independent British Craft Brewer initiative in a bid to create greater clarity for consumers looking to buy beer from genuinely independent craft breweries nationwide.
Market research conducted by the brewing body revealed 46% of beer drinkers regard craft beer as ‘made by small brewers rather than large corporations’ but one in 10 beer drinkers are unsure what the term means.
More than a third (35%) regard craft breweries as ‘artisanal’ and 22% associated the term with ‘small’ and 14% with ‘local’ and SIBA claims that all its full brewing members fall into these definitions.
Benner said: “SIBA launched the Assured Independent British Craft Brewer initiative to help beer drinkers see quickly and easily which beers are from British independent craft brewers because it is these brewers that are consistently delivering quality and innovation in a vibrant beer market.
“The passion and innovation of independent brewers, together with the increasing consumer demand for diversity, provenance and excellence, has created the craft beer revolution. It is the biggest thing to have happened to British beer for many years and has helped to revitalise the UK beer market and turn it into the most exciting beer scene in the world.
“Hundreds of passionate and genuine independent brewers have brought thousands of world-class beers to communities across the UK. However, as the craft beer market has grown, it is being flooded with beers from across the world, often from large global brewers. We have launched our ‘assured’ initiative to help consumers make informed decisions about where their beer comes from and who has brewed it.”
In order for breweries to qualify for the stamp of approval, they must be truly independent of any larger controlling brewing interest and pledge to abide by SIBA’s Manual of Good Brewing Practice. This seeks to ensure quality throughout the independently brewed beer market.
The new scheme aims to make it easier for beer drinkers to identify beers from SIBA independent craft breweries quickly and easily in both the on and off-trade.
More than 150 SIBA brewing members have pledged their support to the initiative and will use the logo in their future marketing. This includes the brewers of SIBA’s 8 Champion Cask Beers. One of these is Fiona MacEachern of Loch Lomond Brewery who won SIBA’s Champion cask competition.
She said: “Loch Lomond is very happy to support this initiative as we believe it is hugely important for beer drinkers to be able to see whether the beer they are drinking is brewed by an independent craft brewer or whether it is actually being produced by a global brewer.
“We think some consumers are being misled into thinking the beer they’re drinking is a small-batch, hand-crafted product when actually it is being produces on a mass scale.”
Breweries that have signed up to the scheme can use the stamp on pump clips, bottles, PoS, cans and websites, which will ensure it is clear for consumers that what they are drinking is a genuine independently brewed craft beer.